Khwaja Gharib Nawaz

Khwaja Gharib Nawaz or ‘Patron of the Poor’ as Khwaja Mo’inuddin Chishti is known, was not only a great Sufi and an inspired person, but at the same time he was an erudite scholar and a poet. He would generally not allow more than one dervish to accompany him in travels. He would stay in desolate and deserted places. Sometimes he would stay in a graveyard. The moment he came to be known, he would stay no longer. He hated publicity.

Khwaja Moinuddin Chshti says…

Khwaja Gharib Nawaz says that the Day of Judgment is a certainty. On that day when the true lovers will be called and if at that time someone amongst the lovers cried out establishing his claim to be a lover of God, he will, undoubtedly, thereby forfeit his claim of being sincere and constant in love. He will feel ashamed. He will have to hide his face from he true lovers. A voice will come out to the effect: “These claimants of love are not real lovers! Remove them from amongst Our lovers!”
Once Khwaja Gharib Nawaz, pointing to Khwaja Qutb Saheb said: ‘When I came in close contact with Hazrat Khwaja ‘Usman Harooni and subsequently I became his murid I passed eight years in such a way that I took no rest or respite’.

‘I renounced all comforts. My sole concern was as how best to please him with my devotion and service. When he used to undertake a journey I used to carry on my head his bedding and tiffin basket and thus used to accompany him’.

‘My pir-o-murshid, appreciating and recognizing my services and being pleased with me, at last conferred upon me such gifts which can neither be described nor circumscribed. I am thankful to him for all his gifts and kindness’.

Afterwards he said: “Whoever gained anything, gained by service. A murid should under no circumstance hesitate in carrying out the commands of his murshid. Whatever he may suggest, prayers and any routine, the murid should pay his fullest attention to it and should undoubtedly practice it. The murid should by earnestly following and obeying his spiritual guide, try to reach the place where the spiritual guide himself becomes the comb of his murid’.

‘It should be taken to heart that whatever the murshid persuades his disciples to do and to practice, it is for the benefit of the murid himself’.

Continuing his discourse he said: ‘Shaykh Shahabuddin Suhrawardi served his pir-o-murshid very devotedly and faithfully. He used to accompany his pir-o-murshid on pilgrimage and used to carry his luggage on his head. And on the return journey he did likewise’.

‘At last, by virtue of his devotion and service of his murshid, he got such blessings and gifts which are limitless and beyond description. The people cannot ever understand what the shaykh got and what benefit he derived from his murshid’.

One day, addressing all those present, Khwaja Gharib Nawaz said that imam Abu’l-Laith of Samarkand has written in his book entitled ‘Teera’: “Every day there descend from the heaven two angels. One of them cries, saying: ‘O people! Listen to me and know it fully well that the one who does not fulfill his obligations to God, becomes surely deprived of His mercy. The other angel cries, saying: ‘He indeed alienates the sympathy and support of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), who does not follow him’.”

At another time Khwaja Gharib Nawaz emphasized that you should sleep clean, as when you sleep like this, on you are showered the blessings of God. God will then appoint an angel for you to remain with you till you awake. The angel prays for your salvation.

Commentary: A friend phoned me some time ago. He had visited the hill in Morocco with the grave of shaykh Ibn Mashish. When Shaykh Abu’l Hasan ash-Shadhili went to meet shaykh Ibn Mashish, he was sent back to purify himself. After performing the ritual ablutions he returned to shaykh Ibn Mashish, who however again asked him to go away and to purify himself. This repeated itself a number of times, until shaykh Abu’l Hasan ash-Shadhili realized that it was inner purification that was meant by shaykh Ibn Mashish.

At another meeting, addressing those present, Khwaja Gharib Nawaz said that prayer is the great necessity for the development of the soul. Prayer is a secret and a mystery, which you confide to God. Except in prayer there is no other opportunity available of expressing your own secret (to God). Prayer for the people is a trust of God. You should try to acquit yourself well.

Commentary: And remembering those of us who are not sure how to pray, a Sufi said: “If you cannot pray sincerely, then offer your dry, outward prayer, for God in His infinite mercy accepts bad coin”.

When you are in search of God you have to pass four stages. The first stage is that of shariat (Islamic law), the next stage is that of tariqat (the Sufi path) and the third stage is that of ma’rifat (inward knowledge of God). When you have proved yourself deserving and acquitted yourself well and when you have been constant and firm, then alone you reach the fourth stage, namely that of haqiqat (truth). Once you have reached that stage you get what you ask for.

At this time Khwaja Gharib Nawaz pointed out, that he heard a dervish saying that an ‘arif (someone with ma’rifat) is one who renounces both the worlds and frees himself thus.

Commentary: A Sufi said: “ Quit this world, quit the next world, quit quitting”.

Once Khwaja Gharib Nawaz said, that we all have to go on the great journey. We should all try to equip ourselves properly for the same.

Commentary: Shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi wrote:

O, sleeper!
So many people are in fact asleep.
You are called, so wake up!
God will replace you in everything

He asks from you,
If at least you’d be sleeping ‘by Him’!
But your heart is asleep
And is deaf to the appeal.

You are only awake in the world of creatures,
Which will destroy you
Each time that you die by its hand.
Take good care of your soul before its departure!
The provisions for the journey are not a certainty.

At another meeting Khwaja Gharib Nawaz said that once shaykh Ibrahim al-Khawwas happened to pass some place where people were absorbed in the remembrance of Allah. When Ibrahim heard the name of Allah, he lost his senses and thus unconscious began to dance. After recovering he would call out aloud the name of Allah and then again relapse into unconsciousness.

For full seven days and seven nights he was in such a state. Having recovered consciousness he made ablutions and having offered prayers bowed down his head and said: “O, Allah!” After this he did not raise his head again and died thus.

Commentary: Shaykh Ibrahim al-Khawwas is famous for his long journeys in the desert, while trusting in Allah. He died in 904 C.E.

Khwaja Gharib Nawaz said, that to see six things is a prayer:

• To see your own parents in the morning and to make a salaam to them respectfully.

• To see your own children with love, blessing and affection belongs to the better type of prayer.

• To see the Qur’an sharif is itself a prayer. Every possible respect should be shown to the Qur’an sharif.

• It is also a prayer to see the face of the ‘ulama’ (scholars of Islam) with respect. Subsequently he said that when you have in your heart the love of and regard for the ‘ulama’, Allah, the Elevated, confers upon you the reward of a thousand years’ prayers. If you may die in the meanwhile, then Allah bestows on you the rank of an ‘alim (scholar of Islam).

• It is good to see the gate of the Ka’ba. To see the Ka’ba is itself a sort of prayer.

• To see towards the face of your own pir-o-murshid and to be devoted in his service is known as the inner knowledge of the spiritual disciple.

Commentary: It is imperative upon the disciple that whatever you may hear from your spiritual guide you should be very attentive to it. Whatever spiritual practices he may prescribe, you should perform them to the utmost.

You should be with your spiritual guide and serve him very devotedly and faithfully. If you may not be able to do so continuously, then you should do it, at least, to your utmost capacity and to the best of your means and circumstances.

Khwaja Gharib Nawaz said that it should be remembered that there is no better thing before Allah than prayer. Hazrat Qutb Saheb thereupon asked: “What type of prayer was that?” Khwaja Gharib Nawaz replied that that prayer consists in hearing the complaints of the aggrieved and to assist them, to help the needy and the oppressed, to feed the people and to get the captives free from captivity. All these things, Khwaja Gharib Nawaz emphasized, are of great importance.

Commentary: According to the Siyar-ul-Awliya (p. 46) Khwaja Gharib Nawaz was once asked to explain the highest form of religious devotion, which endeared man to Allah. He answered:

Develop river-like generosity,

Sun-like bounty

And earth-like hospitality.

Khwaja Gharib Nawaz says that once Hazrat Malik-e Dinar was asked about the service ( khidmat ) of Allah. He replied that if you take to the service of the Friend, you get ultimately united with the Friend.

Commentary: Shaykh Fariduddin ‘Attar writes about him in his beautiful, poetical language: “Possessing true leadership, trusting in the friendship of Allah, the righteous paragon, the exemplar on the path of religion, the sultan of those who fly far, Malek-e Dinar. He was a companion of Hasan of Basra”.

There were present shaykh Awhaduddin Kermani, shaykh Wahid Burhan Ghaznavi, Khwaja Sulayman Abdur-Rahman and some other dervishes. Khwaja Gharib Nawaz led the conversation by saying that some people have described a hundred stages of spiritual development (suluk). After covering sixty-nine stations comes the station of karamat (supernatural powers).

The wayfarer in this particular path should not exhibit his supernatural powers unless and until he has crossed the seventy stages. But, continued Khwaja Gharib Nawaz, it is better that you should exhibit supernatural powers only after you have crossed the hundred stages.

Subsequently Khwaja Gharib Nawaz said that some people belonging to the Chishti tariqat have fixed fifteen stages of spiritual development and out of these fifteen there are five stages pertaining to supernatural powers. “Our Chishti Kkwajagan are of the opinion’, proceeded Khwaja Gharib Nawaz, “that you, when treading this path, should not stop in the five stages alone, but you should, with courage and determination, cross all the fifteen stages”.

Khwaja Gharib Nawaz says that the Sufis in this connection have said that once Hazrat Junayd Baghdadi was asked as to why he did not implore for His glorious vision. It was not impossible for him to have His vision. He replied: “Moses asked for it, but did not get it. The prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) did not ask for it, but got it. Since you do not know what is good and what is bad for you, it is better to surrender yourself to His will. If Allah so wills, He will give you the thing desired, provided you deserve it. The curtains out of themselves will be removed and you will see the divine light. Allah will then show His hidden glories, if He wills, so why then should I ask for it?”

Khwaja Gharib Nawaz says that shaykh Abu Yazid Bastami once said: “Thirty years ago I was in Allah. Now I see the mirror, i.e. whatever I was, I am no more. The dual character is removed and ‘we’ and ‘I’ are no more pronounced differently. Now Allah is my mirror. Allah speaks through my tongue, I exist no more”.

Commentary: Shaykh Fariduddin ‘Attar shows his high esteem of shaykh Abu Yazid Bastami by writing about him: “The sultan of the gnostics, the decisive argument for the seekers of truth, the divine caliph, the infinite pillar, fully matured in the world of disappointment, the shaykh of the age, Abu Yazid Bastami, Allah’s mercy be upon him! He was the greatest of the shaykhs and the mightiest of the friends of Allah. He was the proof of the Lord and caliph in reality. He was the axis of the world and the ground for its supports. His austerities and supernatural powers were many. He had a penetrating vision into spiritual secrets and realities and a profound earnestness. He was constantly at the way stations of proximity and awe, and he was drowned in the fire of love. He always kept his body engaged in struggle and his heart in contemplation. His accounts of the ahaGdith were outstanding. No one before him had the ability to infer the meanings of the path that he did. In this way one can say that it was he who wholly dominated the field. His perfection is so apparent that Junayd, Allah’s mercy be upon him, said: ‘Abu Yazid among us is like Gabriel among the angels’.”

Khwaja Gharib Nawaz says that once shaykh Abu Yazid Bastami felt himself obliged to make a retreat to a desolate place near Bastam. The love of Allah in his heart became intensified. Thus enamored of intense love he said: “There is love coming out from every branch, leaf and root of the tree, from every fruit and from every stone, nay from everything. I wished to come out from the kingdom of love, but I could not”.

Commentary: Once Iblis asked the Almighty: “Lord, all despise me.

I live in hell, so, please, banish me! Send me away from Your Kingdom, cast me out to a place You are not!” And even the Almighty could not comply.

Khwaja Gharib Nawaz says that shaykh Abu Sa’id Abi’l-Khair used to say that when God makes you His friend, then He bestows upon you His love. Once you imbibe His love, you will try to identify yourself with Him. At last He draws His friend towards Him, so that you may become one with Him.

Commentary: Shaykh Abu Sa’id Abi’l-Khayr has been one of the first Sufis who has made use of the quatrain as a teaching instrument: Gar dar safaram toi rafiq-e safaram

Var dar hazaram toi anis-e hazaram

Al-qisse be har kojaa ke baashad gozaram

Joz to nabud hichkasi dar nazaram

If I am travelling, my Friend during this travel is You.

If I am at home, my Companion at home is You.

In short, wherever I am and wherever I travel

I am thinking of nobody except of You.

Khwaja Gharib Nawaz, dwelling on the mutual love and sincerity of dervishes, says: “O dear one! Blessed are those dervishes of this time who sit together and show to each other mutual love and sincerity and thus they acquire inner purity. Bad indeed are those dervishes who do not meet each other and keep themselves aloof. Remember this is a bad thing”.

There were present mawlana Bahauddin, shaykh Awhaduddin Kermani and some other dervishes. The theme of the conversation was the type of trust ( tawakkul ) reposed by the Sufis in Allah. Khwaja Gharib Nawaz said that their trust in God should be such, that they need not ask help from anyone, nor they should look towards anyone nor they should pay any attention to anyone except Allah, the Elevated.

Khwaja Gharib Nawaz then narrated the story of the prophet Abraham, the friend of Allah, who was asked by the angel Gabriel as to what he wanted. The prophet replied that he had nothing to do with him. When Allah knows all, why should he then demand anything from anyone else.

Proceeding further Khwaja Gharib Nawaz said that shaykh Junayd was asked to define a God-illuminated person. He replied thus: “He is one whose heart refuses to repose trust on three things:

Firstly: Knowledge.

Secondly: Action.

Thirdly: Seclusion.

So long as someone reposes his trust on the three aforesaid things, his trust in Allah is not perfect”.

The lover’s heart is a fireplace of love. Whatever comes in it is burnt and becomes annihilated. There is no fire greater in its intensity than the fire of love.

The noise of the lover is only up to the time when he has not seen his Beloved. Once he sees the Beloved he becomes calm and quiet, just as the rivers are boisterous before they join the ocean, but when they do so they are becalmed forever.

The ‘arif (the one with inward knowledge of God) is ever steeped in the love of the Friend. If he stands it is out of love for Allah. If he sits, he is busy in prayers. If he sleeps his thoughts are fixed on Him and when he awakes His memory is fresh in his mind.

Commentary: Men as well as women can receive the gift of love. Read for ‘he’ also ‘she’. Shaykh Ibn al-‘Arabi has made it clear that all positions in the hidden spiritual hierarchy can be fulfilled both by men as well as women.

The ‘arif is, according to Khwaja Gharib Nawaz, one who receives every day from Allah a hundred thousand visions and in every minute a few thousands. He thus receives spiritual ecstasy ( wajd ) every moment.

Commentary: Wajd can also be translated as ‘finding’, i.e. the finding of Allah.

Khwaja Gharib Nawaz says that there are ten things necessary
for a dervish, namely:

• Search of Allah

• Search of a spiritual teacher

• Respect

• Surrender

• Love

• Piety

• Constancy

• Perseverance

• To eat less, to sleep less and seclusion


10 Prayers.

For the Sufi there are, likewise, ten things necessary,
which are as follows:

• To be perfect in divine knowledge

• To be neither sorry and sad yourself, nor to make others sorry and sad and nor to think evil of anybody

• To point the way to Allah and to lead and guide the people towards the ultimate good

• To be hospitable

• To prefer seclusion

• To pay respect and regard to everyone and to count yourself as the humblest and the lowest

• To surrender your will to the will of Allah

• To be patient and persevering in every grief and woe

• To be humble and meek


10 To be contented and to repose your trust in Allah.

There are fourteen famous branches of knowledge for the realization of Allah in this world:

• There is the knowledge of the shariat, which constitutes a commentary on the divine words.

• Fiqh is the knowledge of religion, law and Islamic jurisprudence.

• The most excellent philosophy relates to the appreciation and meaning of poetry.

• ‘Ilm-i-hikmat , which can be found in the books written by the wise and the learned. It refers to wisdom and knowledge.

• There is the knowledge of certainty, which is to know the intrinsic quality of the names.

• Next comes the knowledge of documents and manumissions.

• The knowledge of astronomy relates to the stars and planets.

• The knowledge of logic relates to syllogisms.

• The knowledge of music is one of the branches of knowledge.

• The knowledge of medicine relates to the cure of the human body.

• There is the knowledge of tawhid , the unity of Allah.

• The knowledge of the tariqat , i.e. the gnosis of the world of malakut is another branch of knowledge.

• The knowledge of the haqiqat , i.e. the gnosis of the world of jabarut , is one of the branches of knowledge.

•  Last comes ‘ilm al-ladunni , i.e. the inspired knowledge. It comes direct from on high and is the fruit of inspiration.

The real treasure, so says Khwaja Gharib Nawaz, is the secret of Allah. The heart of an ‘ arif is His treasure. The ‘ arif must give the zakat of the secret of Allah from his own treasure to the waylaid and the ignorant.

All the things of the world are His mirror. In fact all are the same, but the ways of showing them are different, as the meaning may be the same, but it is explained though different words. So there is the One and the One only, but His manifestations are different. There can be no doubt that “Allah circumscribes everything”.

Khwaja Gharib Nawaz has stated that Allah at first manifested Himself in Himself and, separating one light from His own light, showed Himself in Himself and showed Himself His glory. They were the lover, love and the Beloved.

Every particle of dust is a cup, wherein all the world can be seen.
Whosoever got any blessing got it by generosity alone.
The Sufis breathe nothing but love.